THE BANALITY OF HORROR
I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not terrified. That the oncoming train wreck of a Presidency is survivable. That throughout history people have been in similar situations and have eventually risen up from the rubble. (Sure, it took a world war or a coup or brutal suffering under years of fascism, but eventually the tide changed, right? Uh, right?) Small compensation, I guess, and most of the time it sounds like bullshit anyway, even in my own head. The train is barreling down on us.
The next couple years would be a seriously great time to be a white Christian millionaire – I mean, when hasn’t it been? But, uh, the rest of us are pretty irrevocably fucked.
And I keep telling myself not to be afraid, to translate that fear into fury, that fury into momentum. I’m scrambling in the dark, grasping at anything I can. I’m trying. I’m coming up with resources like this, which was written by Congressional staffers and uses the work of the Tea Party as a template, which I think is pretty goddamn smart, considering how well that movement was able to hinder Obama. I’m spending money where it’ll do good. I’m volunteering my time and skills where it’s important. I’m calling my Senators and Congressman to tell them when they’re doing well, and when they need to be more pointed in their resistance. I’m recognizing that change at the state and local level is still a workable goal.
I’m trying to harness the outrage and the fear.
Meanwhile, Drumpf keeps Trumping. His Administration’s bait-and-switch has now entered the realm of the absurd. While Russian interference has been confirmed by numerous government intelligence agencies (through a series of admittedly unwise, sloppy leaks to the Washington Post and elsewhere), while women and children are literally being dragged from their homes and murdered in the streets by Assad’s forces in Aleppo, Vanity Fair publishes a scathing review of the newly-opened Drumpf Grill and the President-Elect goes on a Twitter tirade against the magazine. He is supposedly taking a “non-interventionist” standpoint in regards to world conflicts, but at this point his misdirection is surreal, if not abjectly sociopathic. Non-intervention no longer holds water when the perpetrators include your avowed allies, as Putin and Assad are to Drumpf. (And as those Americans who didn’t vote in this election can attest, even inaction eventually becomes a political statement.)
An acquaintance recently said something to the effect of, I can’t actually imagine him making it to inauguration. But I can’t imagine him not. Honestly, I can’t imagine anything anymore. And it’s true. How do we move forward? Is it really possible to move forward, when the nation will ostensibly be run by a man who chooses to tweet diatribes against his own citizens, to the point where these citizens earn death and rape threats from Drumpf’s fanatic followers. Or how he managed to make Boeing’s stock worth take a billion dollar nosedive with a single tweet. I’ve written before about how we have to wary of these tweets – and since the man has again broken Presidential precedence and is not doing press conferences, his chickenshit tweets are all we have to go off of at this point – and oh, I still think that’s true. Steve Bannon is still Drumpf’s Chief Strategist, after all. These people will still do anything. They will still tell any lie. They will double-down on any lie when confronted. In that regard, nothing has changed.
So how do we move forward?
How can a country move forward when its Cabinet seems comprised entirely of people appointed with the explicit intention to dismantle, obfuscate or outright destroy the very departments they have been assigned to lead. How does a country survive – Jesus, forget flourishing at this point – when the new Director of the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate change denier who currently has pending lawsuits against the EPA? When the Secretary of State is an oil tycoon-buddy of Putin and has been awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship medal after Russia has been confirmed to have influenced the outcome of our election? When the National Security Adviser, arguably the nation’s most important governmental position in regards to foreign diplomacy, is a conspiracy theorist who has publicly avowed that Islam is a “cancer,” and that “fear of Muslims is rational.” Talk about deplorables, Jesus. At this point I’m waiting for David Clarke to bust into the room holding an M60 or something.
How can we move forward when the CIA has confirmed that Vladimir Putin himself was explicitly involved in the interference of the election? And that Drumpf has thusly criticized the CIA – rather than Russia itself? How can we move forward when Majority Mitch McConnell was informed of said interference in September and informed Obama that if the White House challenged the Russians publicly, McConnell would consider it an act of partisanship? (McConnell’s wife, by the way, was appointed as Secretary of Transportation the following month.) How do we move forward when Drumpf’s own children are sitting in on meetings with foreign diplomats from countries in which they have business concerns? When these same children have been given offices in the White House? (Kleptocracy is the word you’re looking for.)
The shittiest thing about it is just how banal the horror could eventually become. The repetition of it. How standard and old-fucking-hat it is: the ceaseless greed of the wealthy and powerful capitalizing on the rollback of environmental regulations, of diminishing resources, of the brazen cronyism, the very select adherence to only certain aspects of the Constitution that benefit and do not hinder. How amazing and uncharted progress could have someday been… and how fucking dumb and archaic and brutal its opposite will be.
The train’s roaring down, it is, and we will see unmitigated lining of pockets and consolidation of corporate power at unprecedented levels. We’ll see a walk-back of long held civil rights, first with targeted groups, then marginalized groups, then protest groups, then all of us. Things we thought unthinkable. We will see the normalization of McCarthyism, with a slightly different, browner face. We will see countless Americans citizens labeled “terrorists.” We will be privy to new surveillance laws that we previously thought we would never concede to. It will become normal, all of it under that banal, eternally dangerous tagline of, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of.” The rich are gonna get even richer, so goddamn rich, and the rest of us will feel the cuffs tighten a but more every day.
Time keeps moving on, the train keeps coming at us.
And I’m still absolutely terrified.